Securing high quality translation services is always important in business. But it is especially vital when translating advertising and marketing material. The best planned, most strategic marketing campaign in the world won’t work if you’re not reaching your target audience. And in this digital age, more and more companies are expanding their target markets to include populations from around the globe. For that reason, it’s helpful to understand some important aspects of translation practices in international advertising.


Put simply, localization involves adapting an advertising campaign to make it suitable for the target audience. This is particularly pertinent in the global marketplace, where a myriad of different countries and cultures are involved. What may be entirely acceptable in one country may not be in another – worse yet, you may actually end up offending potential customers rather than enticing them to purchase your service or product. Translators need to pay special attention to virtually every aspect of the audience/culture that is included as part of that audience: including social habits, ethical standards, religious implications, and commercial practices already present within that country or population.

Legalities and the political climate

Linguists need to pay close attention not only to the cultural sensitivities of the audience, but also to the political climate of the region and to legal restrictions that may exist with regard to advertising. Certain products in particular may be subject to such restrictions, such as alcohol, tobacco, and some styles of clothing or music, for example.

Modification of marketing efforts

While it’s usually desirable and advisable to maintain consistency in an advertising campaign no matter who the audience may be – consistency does, after all, enhance brand identity and customer recognition of a product or service – it’s also important for the business owner or manager to come to terms with the fact that the campaign may have to be modified in order to be appropriate in some regions of the world. No matter how much experience the translator brings to the task, some marketing concepts may simply be unacceptable in certain cultures. If you are currently doing business in the global marketplace, or if you’re planning on doing so anytime soon, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind from the very beginning stages of developing your advertising and marketing strategies.

When it comes to translation of international advertising and marketing efforts, there is no substitute for an intimate knowledge of the language and culture of the audience. If possible, it’s a huge advantage to secure the services of a native speaker, and preferably someone who has spent a great deal of time in the country where your ads will appear. If that’s not possible, then at the very least look for a translator who has experience in translating marketing and advertising materials that have appeared in that region. If you find it difficult to locate the right linguist for your marketing translations, consider turning to a reputable translation company that can match the skills and experience of a professional translator with your company’s needs. When it comes to connecting with customers in the global marketplace, nothing is more important than effective translation practices.